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What has been the biggest surprise about the work you do now?

maggiewolff's profile thumbnail
TL; DR: Despite my best efforts (LOL), I ended up in a role that really closely mirrors what I enjoyed in high school. I was always very good at math, but didn't know of any career path other than "math teacher" and I wasn't interested in teaching. (Thank you, useless high school guidance counselor.) I was also in high school in the late 90s, when the internet was booming, and I learned some HTML and had fun making websites in my free time. I wanted to be a "webmaster" when I grew up. I went off to college, gave up pretty quickly on a Computer Science major (I said it was because it was "boring" but really it was very very challenging). I wanted a "cool" job so I majored in Communication with the goal of working in public relations or advertising. I achieved that goal but learned that PR can be pretty boring as well. And also that I'm not a "people person" or a good writer or frankly had any innate skills useful for PR. I didn't know what else to do so I just kind of followed one opportunity to the next, moving into digital marketing and then eventually marketing analytics. Loooooved analytics right away, and pivoted my career in that direction. Now I'm working in product analytics with Expedia Group. So, despite my detour, I still ended up doing math and working at a web-based company. And I love it! Bonus, my detour allowed me to improve my communication skills, something I wouldn't have done if I had stuck with Comp Sci, and I am a much better communicator than many of my peers in analytics/data roles. So that really helps me to stand out.
nehamore's profile thumbnail
TLDR; Took a computer science class in high school and hated it. Now run clinical operations at a start up and thankful I took that Computer science class because it allowed me to learn new concepts and excel quickly at my current job.I have a very similar experience as @maggiewolff . My brother and dad are in computer science and my mom is a pediatrician. I went the medical route as well and on a whim took AP computer science in high school. I didn't like it and didn't ever consider working for tech company. Up until 2 years ago, I had become a manager for a medical practice and realized I liked management and didn't want to become a doctor. I wanted to do something more than being a this clinic, so I started applying for jobs in tech and eventually bio tech.I now run clinical operations at this start up and despite letting go of others in this past year, my medical experience has been a huge added benefit. I also found it helpful to have taken that AP computer science class in high school as I can read basic code and understand what it means. I also now really enjoy learning more about Computer Science logistics and implementation, and never thought I would've been in this position. That one computer science class has made is significantly easier for me to understand what implementation methods are possible and I'm just starting the scratch the surface of computer science language.I don't think I'll code, but I also never thought I would've enjoyed the logical, implementation of computer science, let alone working for a bio tech company.I also learned that working for a start up, any small skill can be a huge benefit. I did some video editing for UCSD in high school one summer and due to COVID everything went virtual. I was able to make training and demo videos and have grown to enjoy that as well.
TinaReis's profile thumbnail
I've been raised with very strict gender roles by my parents - especially when it comes to school, the classic "girls are good at languages, boys are good at math". So when I graduated high school with very good math grades, it didn't occur to me that I could do something with it. Ended up in tech anyways, after completing a social sciences degree. Surprising is to me, though, how much my social sciences degree helps me in my tech job. It helps with listening and understanding stakeholders, project management, conducting user interviews, etc.